Explore 10 Top Things to Do In Bodega Bay
Bodega Bay is a laid-back town that’s known around the globe as the backdrop for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and is a favorite destination for travelers and locals alike! Only about two hours from San Francisco and 25 minutes from Sebastopol, the uniqueness of the area and the scenic drive makes for a perfect daytime adventure. Plus, there are plenty of things to do in Bodega Bay that everyone will enjoy.
For those making the drive to Bodega Bay on Highway 1, you’ll enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, pristine beaches, an abundance of wildlife, and lush meadows.
1. Discover the Breathtaking Views from Bodega Head
If you’re looking for a proper coastal day trip in Sonoma Country with views for miles, you must check out Bodega Head! The sights are worth a stop if you’re traveling along the 55-miles of coastline, even if you choose not to partake in the many activities available.
Only about four miles long and one mile wide, Bodega Head has outstanding trails, beach access, and is one of the best places for wildlife viewing! Think bird watching and observing all of the marine life, including sea otters, elephant seals, harbor seals, and sea lions.
The trail that loops around the peninsula’s southern end is about a mile long and gives an incredible view of the Hole in the Head pond. Parking is free, and picnic tables are available nearby.
2. Go Whale Watching at Bodega Bay
Speaking of wildlife, this is one of California’s best whale-watching spots! It’s located along the yearly gray whale migration route and offers opportunities to see whales year-round from exceptional vantage points.
However, the best time of year for spotting whales from the bluffs of Bodega Head is around January through May every year. You might catch them on the southbound migration during the fall months, but they’re typically far away from the shore. If you’re visiting from October to November, we advise looking into one of the whale-watching expeditions available.
3. Horseback Riding Along the Coastline
Have you always wanted to go for a horseback ride on the beach? Perhaps it’s on your bucket list? You have two choices for grabbing a saddle and going for a picturesque ride around Bodega Bay, Horse N Around Trail Rides and Chanslor Stables.
Horse N Around Trail Rides offers 6 various private and group tours ready for you to pick from! If you want to go on a beach ride, they have a 90-minute beach ride that will be sure to delight. With this tour, you’ll ride horseback down a long stretch of the beach and head through the dunes along the harbor. Other trail rides include meandering through cattle pastures, past scenic ponds, and across creeks.
Chanslor Stables has a diverse selection of 7 different guided horseback tours available that will take you along the Sonoma County coastline! You can arrange to ride on the beach or follow miles of trails through grassy meadows, their Wetlands Wildlife Preserve, or nearby canyons. No matter which one you decide to choose, this will surely be an experience you will treasure for a lifetime!
4. Explore the Water by Kayak or SUP Board
There’s no better way to explore the majesty of Bodega Bay than by getting out on the water! If you’re experienced, you’ll be able to find both kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals at Bodega Bay Kayak. They also offer customized tours for those who may need a lesson or refresher beforehand. Plus, you’ll be guided by a local expert who will cover the history of the area and the local wildlife.
Haven’t been kayaking before? We have you covered with our kayaking guide for first-time paddlers.
5. Cycle the Bodega Head Ride
The 4-mile long Bodega Head Ride will take you adjacent to the whole bay area and ends at the incredible Bodega Bay State Park. At 265 feet above the roiling waves, this is the bicycle ride of a lifetime! Plus, it’s a low-traffic road with large bicycle lanes in both directions, which is great for those of all experience levels.
Want to learn about the area from an experienced tour guide? For those who love biking and hiking, Ace It Bike Tours combines everything you’re looking for in a 4 hour guided tour! You’ll bike approximately 7 miles total, hike about 1 to 2 miles, and explore the area — like stopping at one of the best clam chowder houses in Sonoma County!
6. Get Fresh Seafood from the Sonoma Coast
Seafood doesn’t get any fresher than at Bodega Bay, and you’ll have your choice of some of the top Sonoma Coast restaurants here! If you’re looking for a place to eat with a breathtaking ocean view, Tides Wharf & Restaurant is the spot to go. You’ll find they are open daily and offer fresh catches of the day, along with a wide variety of other menu items.
Gourmet Au Bay is also an exceptional waterfront choice that we love! This wine bar and restaurant has beautiful views, a wide variety of wines, and wood-fired cuisine.
For a relaxed atmosphere, you’ll find Spud Point Crab Company is an excellent spot for their award-winning clam chowder (only open for lunch). Last but not least, The Boat House is an extremely casual option that’s open for both lunch and dinner with a relaxed ambiance.
7. Sip Local Sonoma Coast Wine
Aside from the wine bar mentioned above, Sonoma Coast Vineyards should be on your list of things to do in Bodega Bay! They offer an incredible selection of wines and bay views from their outside patio. And, the handcrafted wine is crafted from grapes grown merely five miles from the Pacific Ocean, in the west area of the Russian River Valley.
The beachy yet upscale tasting room is also a fabulous place to stop and rest after a long day of outdoor activities before you head back to your vacation home. Plus, you’re only minutes away from California’s Wine Country, including Occidental, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, and Napa!
8. Golf at The Links at Bodega Harbour
The Links at Bodega Harbour is an 18-hole Scottish-style links course that all golfers will love, no matter their experience! Recognized globally as of Northern California’s top golf courses, it combines panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean from each hole, rolling fairways, and over 96 bunkers to test your skills. The legendary course opened in 1978, and an extensive renovation was completed in 2008, which included new bunkers and the addition of bentgrass.
9. The Children’s Bell Tower
Wondering why you keep hearing bells chiming in the background? The Children’s Bell Tower can be heard for miles around Bodega Bay. This monument is dedicated to all children — but was initially created as a memorial for seven-year-old Nicholas Green.
The Bodega Bay resident was shot and killed in a robbery attempt during a family visit to Italy in 1994. Nicholas’ family made the decision to donate his organs which saved the lives of seven Italian patients. If you remember, his death sparked a worldwide discussion about organ donation, and ultimately the donation rates in Italy skyrocketed. This increase and all the goodwill that came after the tragedy led to what’s now known as “The Nicholas Effect.”
You can find this tribute by parking at the Bodega Bay Community Center and finding the marked path that goes down to the tower.
10. Check Out Where Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ was Filmed
Bodega Bay and the nearby village of Bodega are often known as being the location where Alfred Hitchcock’s legendary movie ‘The Birds‘ was filmed! If you walk around the area, you’ll find some of the buildings featured in the film, including the famous Potter schoolhouse and the St. Teresa of Avila Church. As a fun note, both of these buildings were also used in Finian’s Rainbow, a 1968 musical starring Fred Astaire and Petula Clark.
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